HC Deb 03 November 1955 vol 545 c1202
38. Mr. Ernest Davies

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer his estimate of the total loss of revenue that would result from the reduction of duty on diesel oil by sixpence per gallon and by the total exemption of diesel engined goods vehicles and passenger service vehicles, respectively, from such duty.

Mr. H. Brooke

The immediate loss of revenue from a reduction in the duty on diesel oil by 6d. a gallon would be about £10 million a year. The loss resulting from the exemption from this duty of oil for diesel-engined goods vehicles and passenger service vehicles would be about £20 million and £30 million a year respectively. Any such tax changes would of course encourage users to switch from petrol to diesel oil vehicles, and the loss of revenue would therefore increase progressively.

Mr. Davies

Does the Minister agree that a switch from petrol to diesel fuel is advantageous? Do not those figures show that it would not be a great cost to the Exchequer if there were a discriminatory tax in favour of diesel oil for road passenger vehicles? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that services, in the country areas particularly, are deteriorating owing to very high costs, that unremunerative services are being cut out and fares are increasing?

Mr. Brooke

Those are very important questions, but the hon. Member will realise that any thought of reductions of duty are entirely excluded by the present economic situation.

Mr. R. Bell

In view of the foul and obnoxious fumes poured out by diesel vehicles, will my right hon. Friend consider doubling the tax on them?